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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Knoxville cyclist details Chattanooga area bike routes in new book

Thanks to Elle Colquitt's inadequate map during a short bike tour in England, Chattanooga bike enthusiasts now have a book detailing 45 routes in and around the Scenic City.
The Knoxville resident's newly published, spiral-bound, 216-page text provides routes from 10 to 75 miles covering 13 counties from Dayton, Tenn., to LaFayette, Ga., and from Cleveland, Tenn., to the Sequatchie Valley.
"My goal when I do an area is to get you on as many roads as I can," said Colquitt. "Then you just take the map with the most roads you want to go on [and] play around."
The book, "Bicycling Routes: Bicycling the Scenic Backroads Around Chattanooga, Tennessee and North Georgia," is part of a series of similar books by the lifetime cycler. Previous books have detailed routes around Knoxville and the off-road trails in the eastern part of the state.
When Colquitt got lost in England several years ago, she found a touring book that had a lot of the features she ended up incorporating in her books. In the United States, though, she hasn't seen any book done quite the same way, she said.
Phil Pugliese, bicycle coordinator for Outdoor Chattanooga, said "Bicycling Routes" is a valuable resource for both residents and bikers visiting the region for recreational cycling or for exploring its scenic beauty.
"It's a great addition," he said. "It definitely fulfilled a need."
The color-coded routes, which offer 13 start locations and options for customizing rides, are mapped in order that the majority of riders will feel comfortable, Colquitt said.
"Being a woman, riding by myself, I don't want another gal out there [on an unsafe route]," she said. "That being said, accidents do happen."
To create the routes, Colquitt said she talked to biking experts, people in bike shops and people who ride a lot, mapping out all "rideable" roads. By "rideable," she said, she means all roads that are safe, scenic and not too heavily trafficked.
After compiling her maps, she drove the routes and then biked them. Among other information she included are the general route descriptions, steepness of hills, markings of T and Y intersections and stoplights, locations of stores and restrooms, scenic pictures, historic neighborhood details and other points of interest.
Colquitt's desire, she said, was to include "anything I can to help make it more clear."
"It was a labor of love," she said.
The area in and around the Scenic City offers different challenges and opportunities than Knoxville, Colquitt said. Chattanooga affords a better downtown for riding, she said, and has more interesting, surrounding small towns.
Among the more interesting routes she mapped, she said, are Signal Mountain [the homes "felt like stepping back in time"]; McLemore's Cove in North Georgia ["just exquisitely beautiful, with Pigeon Mountain on one side and Lookout Mountain on the other"]; the area around Red Clay State Historic Park near Cleveland, Tenn.; and the Sequatchie Valley ["a beautiful, beautiful area" where the Chattanooga Bicycle Club holds an annual century ride].
Mike Teff, store manager at Trek Bicycle Store on Manufacturers Road, said "a ton of people" request area bike routes when they come into the shop, so Colquitt's book, covering rides from the Riverwalk to centuries, is a "huge asset."
"Anybody can do it," he said of cycling. "That's the greatest thing about it."
Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress or 423-757-6497.
Tennessee Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Tennessee Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.